The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA): Emerging Opportunities for Trade Facilitation
22 September 2020 | Virtual Event
The Covid-19 pandemic is projected to have long-lasting adverse effects on the global economy, hurting developing and least developed countries the most. While it will be difficult for the entire global economy to recover, African countries are particularly vulnerable in the wake of the pandemic.
Against this backdrop, the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) could offer African countries a lever to mitigate the negative economic effects of the pandemic. The AfCFTA will cover a market of 1.2 billion people and encompass a region with a gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.5 trillion.
To put this into context, the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation, along with International Chamber of Commerce chapters in Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria, hosted a webinar that brought together African businesses to discuss the potential benefits of the AfCFTA for African economies. The webinar, held 22 September 2020, looked at how trade facilitation measures could boost intra-continental trade and potentially mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 crisis.
Opening the session, Hubert Danso focused on the importance of harnessing the power of technology to promote cross-border trade in Africa. Trudi Hartzenberg stressed the importance of trade facilitation reforms to attain the full long-term benefits of the AfCFTA. She cited a study by the World Bank which found that most of the AfCFTA’s economic benefits will come from measures that cut red tape and simplify customs procedures, boosting income by $292 billion and making it easier for African businesses to integrate into global supply chains.